How to Cope With Period Pains
As you might know I suffer from endometriosis, so I’m pretty skilled at trying to deal with period pains and cramps. These days I only have a few days a month where I need to take my pain killers, but I used to be on pain medication 10-14 days a month, and often still had to stay at home. I wanted to share different ways to cope with, ease and prevent the pains, and how effective I personally find them to be. Please note that every one is different, so please see your own personal doctor for advice. Also, I get very strong pain killers, because of my endometriosis, so just because something isn’t effective for me, doesn’t mean it might not work for you.
- OTC-painkillers such as Advil, Aleve or Tylenol can be useful and usually relieve most women’s period pains. Be careful not to mix NSAID‘s (such as ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve)) without discussing it with your doctor first.
- Prescription painkillers. I’m on 500mg of Naproxen prescribed by my doctor, which after doctor’s orders is mixed with 2x200mg ibuprofen and 2x500mg paracetemol (acetaminophen in the US). Always discuss any OTC-painkillers or other medications you take with your doctor.
- The pill can be incredibly helpful as it usually lightens periods, and with doctor’s supervision it is completely safe to skip several periods (I used to only have 4 a year). If you suffer from endometriosis like I do, it’s even more helpful as it blocks the hormones that the endo needs to grow, and so it generally “pauses” it whilst you’re on the pill.
- Hormonal IUD (such as Mirena) and the mini-pill can also help make periods lighter, and thus often less painful.
- Exercise. You see this a lot, everywhere actually. Gentle exercise eases up the cramps. I do think this is true if you have average period pains, but if you have cramps as bad as mine have been at times, you can’t exercise, even if you wanted to. I’m talking pains that are so bad that you’re literally bend over when you try to stand up, and you spend 15-20 mins talking yourself into going to the bathroom, or making that hot water bottle, which you know will make you feel better. I do greatly encourage you to try some gentle yoga or a nice walk if you feel at all up to it, I have many friends who say it helps them a lot, unfortunately, I can’t when I feel the worst.
- Hot water bottle. This is my personal favourite, it really helps calm my cramps down, it’s simple, cheap and it’ll last you a couple of hours. Many women also find hot baths very helpful and relaxing, I do this when I have the opportunity, but where I live I only have the opportunity of a shower.
- Caffeeine allegedly makes it worse, I don’t drink coffee and rarely drink enough tea for this to affect me, so you’ll have to try that out for yourself.
- Regular exercise.
- Magnesium, fish oil, zink, calcium, B-vitamins and E-vitamin.
- Cut down/cut out sugar and refined carbs.